Typical Ipe decking prices vary between $3,500 and $9,800 for a 10-by-15-foot deck
When building your dream outdoor space, you want a deck that will stand the test of time, while also creating a comfortable place to host special events like outdoor family dinners. That’s why so many people have fallen in love with durable, yet plush, Ipe wood decking.
The national average cost for an Ipe deck measuring 10 by 15 feet is $4,700. The materials are $5 to $20 per square foot, and the labor costs $20 to $45 per square foot. However, many factors come into play when determining the Ipe decking cost for your project—let’s review how they’ll impact your bottom line.
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Ipe Decking Cost Factors
There's more to installing Ipe decking than laying the boards. See where your money will go for an Ipe decking project:
Ipe decking is wonderfully warm, as it holds some of the sun’s heat, and is also soft on your bare feet. People love it for its low upkeep, long lifespan, durability, and beauty. That being said, Ipe wood prices are higher than many other types of decking, with a cost range of $25 to $65 per square foot, installed. That's mostly due to the labor costs of $20 to $45 per square foot. This decking material is incredibly hard, time-consuming to work with, and needs special equipment to install. Ipe decking costs $5 to $20 per square foot for materials only.
If you’re on a tight budget, opt for a simple rectangular platform Ipe deck. It’s possible to build these for around $25 per square foot. However, a raised, multi-level, or wraparound deck can hit $65 per square foot or more, especially if you want to cover it.
Ipe Decking Foundation Installation Cost
Your deck will need a foundation of some kind, unless one already exists. Expect to pay $4 to $9 per square foot of surface area. The price of the foundation depends on whether it only involves pouring concrete or if it also needs a wooden substructure.
Ipe Decking Board Installation Cost
The cost to install the decking boards is $20 to $35 per square foot, including labor and materials. Because of the strength and density of the wood, heavy-duty titanium drill bits and powerful drills are necessary to drill into Ipe.
Ipe Decking Labor Cost
The total labor cost for installing an Ipe deck, including laying the foundation and fitting the boards, is $20 to $45 per square foot. Since Ipe decking requires a more in-depth, complex installation than other projects like building a floating deck, you’ll need to hire a professional deck builder for this task.
While you may pay less in labor for a pressure-treated pine deck or other, softer wood, Ipe requires less maintenance and has a considerably longer lifespan. Therefore, it adds more value to your home and likely saves you money in the long run.
Additional Ipe Decking Building Costs to Consider
Aside from the decking, some extra features are necessary to complete the space, but they’re not usually part of the average Ipe decking cost figures.
Installing or replacing exterior railings costs $925 on average, including labor and materials. Railings don’t only add to the aesthetic of your new deck; they also make them safer for kids and pets. You can also upgrade to glass or cable railings, costing $150 to $250 per linear foot for cable and $200 to $450 per linear foot for glass.
Building deck stairs costs $15 to $25 per square foot, including labor and materials. Your project cost depends on the design complexity, height, and number of stairs. Keep in mind that stairs are an essential component for raised, multi-level decks, so it’s a non-starter expense for most decks.
Staining or Painting
Budget $1 to $2.50 per square foot to coat your Ipe deck with a protectant. This dark hardwood doesn’t need standard staining or sealing because of its density, meaning stains don’t change the color the way they will on lighter wood. However, coating with a UV protectant stops the wood from fading in the sun.
You might want to run power to your new Ipe deck to hang atmospheric fairy lights or install outdoor speakers. The cost to install an outdoor electrical outlet averages around $225.
What’s a functional deck without some comfortable deck furniture? You can spend anywhere from $100 for a basic table and a couple of chairs or hammocks to over $5,000 for a high-end set to entertain a large group of family and friends.
Typically, fire pit costs range from $200 to $3,000. However, you’ll have to think carefully before you install one on your Ipe deck because of the fire risks.You can also cut costs by purchasing an above-ground fire pit instead of an in-ground model.
Select one that isn’t too heavy for the deck and fits with local building and fire safety codes. Appropriate protective barriers and other safety precautions also need to be in place. Often gas fire pits are a safer option than wood-burning pits.
How Much Does Ipe Decking Cost to Install Yourself?
Even though you could save yourself up to $45 per square foot in labor costs by installing Ipe decking yourself, it's better to hire a local deck builder. A deck builder will install your deck safely and efficiently while you relax and start planning the barbecues you’ll be having in your new outdoor space.
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
Even if you’ve worked on a deck project before, you need to think twice before attempting this installation as a DIY project. Installing Ipe decking isn't as easy as working with other woods. Ipe is hard, dense, and heavy, requiring specialty drill bits and saw blades. Plus, you may have to excavate and level the area where you’ll put the deck, and then potentially pour a concrete foundation.
Katy Willis contributed to this piece.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ipe is a hardwood from Central and South America, also known as Brazilian Walnut and pau lope. It's one of the hardest woods, measuring 3,600 on the Janka hardness scale. In comparison, red oak only measures 1,290.
Its beauty, longevity, and resistance to fungus, insects, and rot make it highly sought after. But its popularity has also led to widespread deforestation and illegal harvesting, so if you must use Ipe, make sure your timber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance for sustainability. You could also consider a fast-growing, sustainable alternative that isn't endangered, such as black locust, or another type of wood or composite deck material.
Yes, Brazilian hardwoods like Ipe are suitable for fencing. Although they're more costly than domestic woods, they're usually more durable and resistant to insects, mildew, and rot. Ipe is so dense that it's as fire-resistant as concrete or steel.
Yes, Ipe has a long lifespan. It can last up to 75 years with minimal maintenance as its own oils help to preserve it.
Yes, Ipe is a popular high-end choice for pool decking. It repels water and is naturally slip-resistant. It's not susceptible to mold, mildew, or rot either, so it lasts longer and is cleaner and more hygienic than other popular decking materials.
No, you don't need to stain Ipe decking, although you can if you want to change the color. You will, however, need to apply a UV coating if you don't want the natural color to fade. Speak to a deck staining specialist near you to discuss the best options if you want to stain your decking.